Festival-goers have told of brazen robberies, traffic chaos and a lack of public transport outside the concert venue and at the nearby Sasol garage in Nasrec, just over 1km from FNB Stadium, while they were waiting for transportation. Transport services such as the Gautrain said many of its buses were stuck in traffic while fares for e-hailing service Uber had more than quadrupled.
On social media, people detailed how the precinct became a “war zone” as running battles ensued between criminals and showgoers, with many being robbed of their cellphones and other belongings, while young women waiting for their rides at a nearby garage were harassed and nearly raped, allegedly with no security or police in sight.
There were reports of a group of about 30 men using knives and guns to attack people and grab their belongings. The injuries included stab wounds and a broken nose.
Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety, Michael Sun, said that the JMPD was responsible for traffic management and deployed 236 metro police officers/traffic wardens, 104 patrol vehicles, 18 motorbikes and 11 horses to ensure traffic free flow from 6am on Sunday to 7am on Monday, as part of the Venue Operation Centre (VOC) team.
He said Emergency Management Services (EMS) were also on standby to deal with any possible incidents. The VOC team comprises of various stakeholders, including event organisers, EMS, law enforcement agencies, health and transport departments from both local and provincial levels.
Sun said the overall planning and command for the event was under the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure under the command of the South African Police Service (SAPS) which included the Presidential Protection Service (PPS) as the lead security role-players in light of various Heads of State/government attending.
“We are shocked to learn of the several reports of mugging and attacks on both social media and other media platforms, we are engaging the South African Police Services to establish what had transpired as they were responsible for the overall policing at the Global Citizen Festival,” Sun said.
“We have learned that only one incident was formally reported which goes in stark contrast to the many reports surfacing all over media. I have received confirmation that JMPD had arrested seven suspects at the Global Citizen Festival for amongst others, common robbery and assault of a police officer. We want to express our deepest regrets to those affected and call on the victims to come forward and report any incidents to the SAPS so investigation can be undertaken.”
READ MORE: FNB Stadium management distances itself from post-Global Citizen Festival security controversy
Sun said that the arrested suspects were in custody at Booysens police station.
He said that the events’ safety and security planning committee had established a “safe zone” where concert-goers could be picked up by e-hail taxis, but e-hailing taxi operators may have requested some of the their passengers to walk to the nearby Sasol garage to be picked up, which was outside the safe zone.
“We will be working closely with SAPS to assist with the investigation and we also need to understand the cause of the problem so we can avoid these kinds of incidents from reoccurring in future,” Sun said.
Sun said his department will work closely with the role players to ensure that that important lessons are learnt from this event and that the City remains a top and safe destination for major events.
This is after world renowned band Guns and Roses attracted nearly 65 000 fans to their concert at the same stadium. The event was incident-free overall except for one report of a suspected domestic violence incident.
South African police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo dismissed allegations of lax safety and security outside the FNB Stadium after the festival, saying that it was successful in combating crime and that police had arrested one suspect for robbery, and that those who allegedly fell victim to robberies should open criminal cases.
Stadium management Chief Executive, Jacques Grobbelaar, expressed regret at the reported incidents of violence and crime affecting festival-goers, but said that his company had no authority over the safety and security of music revellers who had come to see their favourite local and international artists.
Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said he was disturbed by criminal activities that took place after the Global Citizen Festival and has sought a full report from law-enforcement authorities.
– African News Agency (ANA)